Look No Farther

In the world of landscape photography, it seems that the cooler and more extoic place you create images of, the better you are as a photographer. Well at least the more noticed you are is more to my point. And that is great! We need to see the beautiful places of the world to remind us of how precious our planet is. But  I believe that you should Look No Farther than your own backyard to find unique beauty to share with the world, because that is what everyday people see.Where they live and not the Rocky Mountains or National Parks of the world. By taking that challenge on, you push yourself to look at a landscape in a way that makes it interesting and engaging not only to you but to your viewer. That is what I am working on this year. And  right now, I find it has been tough but I love the challenge. 

With a purchase of the camper, my wife and I have spent 4 weekends at 3 different parks; Palisades-Kepler, Pleasant Creek and West Overlook down in Coralville. We stayed at Palisades-Kepler twice. I have created a lot of images of Palisades-Kepler over the years so when I couldn’t get out due to rain or extreme heat, it was ok. So far both Pleasant Creek and West Overlook has had the most images I have created. Now I found a couple of good images to post with the rest not being worthy and that is ok. My failed images are what I learn from and a few of them I may try again to see if I can create something that I love. 

By creating images of my own state, a place I grew up in, I have an idea of what I do and don’t want to present. Barns, cornfields and dirt roads are typical Iowa and that is good for most people but it is not what I want to show. I would love to show off our little towns, rolling fields of prairies, the northern bluff like landscape of Northeast Iowa, the rivers and lakes we fish on. These are the images that I feel have been ignored when it comes to Iowa. These are the images that don’t come to mind when you say to someone; “When you think of Iowa, what pictures come to mind?” Barnes and corn is the most popular is my educated guess.  

I stated earlier that I have lived in Iowa for most of my life but I haven’t seen a good portion of this state.. Which is leading my wife and I to explore places we haven’t been before, or haven’t seen in a very long time.This time, instead of looking at it as one would see it as a tourist, I am looking at these places as a photographer. I want to find something about these places that has a photographic worth that doesn’t appear anywhere else. 

Coming soon is our next park, Lake Darling. I had never heard of the park but with a little research I found it has very little light pollution, so astrophotography is possible. On the DNR site not only points out the great camping and boating but also “Hikers will find plenty of opportunity at Lake Darling State Park. Several trails are present and hikers will see a variety of plant, animal and bird species. One of the trails extends through a re-established prairie and another winds through heavily wooded timber to a cemetery dating back to the 1800s.” To me that sounds like possibilities of images and sound recordings of nature. So needless to say I am looking forward to the opportunities that may happen. 

So this is one of my many projects, to find the gems of Iowa landscapes and create images to redefine what people picture Iowa looks like. I am sure that this will take me to places I haven’t seen, to look at places that I am familiar with in a different way and to write and or podcast about the whole experience. And hopefully, maybe motivate you to visit or at least, entertain you in some way. Until my next post here are some of the images I have created so far. If you follow me on instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you might have seen them already.